All our fantasy baseball rankings for 2023 can be found inside our Draft Kit. Sign up to PL Pro to access all our 2023 player projections with our auction draft calculator.
Before we get started, I’ll briefly review my basic assumptions and philosophy:
These rankings assume a 5×5 head-to-head categories format with one catcher, one first baseman, one second baseman, one shortstop, one third baseman, three outfielders, two utility hitters, a shallow bench, and at least two IL spots. I am also assigning eligibility based on five starts at the position, so don’t be entirely shocked if your host site doesn’t list some of these guys at each position I list below. The scoring categories for hitters that I’m basing these rankings on are runs scored, home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases, and batting average.
Unlike deeper formats with an overall component like the NFBC, standard head-to-head leagues don’t put much of a premium on stolen bases. Additionally, the relatively high replacement level at most positions suppresses the value of players with high floors but low ceilings (like Jean Segura), so as we get to the later part of the rankings you’ll see that I value upside quite a bit more than safety.
There are leagues of all shapes and sizes out there, and I can’t possibly accommodate all of them in a single set of rankings. Don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments if you want to know whether a setting or situation would dramatically change a ranking, but in general, players won’t slide up or down more than one or two tiers (most will move even less) unless it’s an extreme or highly unusual scenario.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the rankings!
1. Mookie Betts (LAD), 2B/OF
With seven appearances at the keystone, Mookie Betts only qualifies at second base in leagues with the lowest of thresholds. If you happen to be in one of those leagues, though, Mookie is without a doubt the top option at the position and should probably move into the top 10 overall in your league. While there is another player who stands alone at the top tier of their position (José Ramírez at third base), Mookie’s hold on this tier to himself is much stronger and should he qualify at second base again in 2024, it’s all but certain that he’d be alone at the top once again.
I have a bit more to say about Mookie in my Outfield Rankings, so if you want more on his outlook, check over there too. In leagues where he qualifies at second base (such as Yahoo formats), you’re not going to care about his outfield eligibility quite as much.
2. Jose Altuve (HOU), 2B
So for all of you who can’t use Mookie Betts at second base, this is where the second base rankings actually start, and they start off quite strong! The 32-year-old Altuve continues to deliver as an elite second baseman, swatting 28 home runs in 2022 after hitting 31 in 2019 and 2021. The ratios are as good as ever as well, finishing the season with a hefty .300/.387/.533 line. In fact, in every season where Altuve has played at least 120 games (which is every one of them except his debut season in 2011 and the shortened 2020 season), he’s hit no worse than .278.
While the power and contact come as no real surprise, the resurgence of stolen bases (18 steals in 19 attempts), was quite a shock as he hadn’t stolen more than six bags since 2018. Spikes in stolen base numbers by a player whose age is north of 30 is not something we generally read too far into, and while his speed has been in decline over the last few seasons according to Statcast he’s still a faster-than-average runner who shouldn’t have much trouble racking up double-digit steals if given double-digit opportunities.
3. Marcus Semien (TEX), 2B/SS
You can be disappointed that Semien dropped over 100 points of slugging between 2021 and 2022, but you can’t complain too much about the overall results—26 home runs, 25 stolen bases, and 184 combined runs and RBI made Semien the third-best second baseman in fantasy in 2022 (second-best if you don’t count Mookie Betts). This would come as a surprise to anyone who stopped paying attention to baseball at the end of April, as he was baseball’s third-worst second baseman by wRC+ at that moment with a paltry and pathetic 26 (meaning he was 74% worse than the average second baseman up to that point).
Many of us analysts wondered if Semien was pressing at the plate and being overly aggressive, as many players admit to when they first appear for a new team with a big new contract, and the rolling charts below certainly suggest that may have been the case:
What you’re seeing above is that Semien generally swings less often than other players at most pitches, except for that brief period at the start of 2022 where he swung much more often than most players would. He wasn’t swinging and missing, mind you—he was just trying to hit everything he could reach, and that’s not really a path to success for Semien. He seemed to settle in as the season went on, and that’s exactly what we see in the numbers.
In short, Semien should be at least as good as he was last season now that the aggression is back under control, and now that he isn’t starting way behind, he could even be better than he was in 2022. I’m hesitant to say Semien can match his insane 2021, but 30 home runs and an improved batting average are both fairly reasonable expectations.
4. Ozzie Albies (ATL), 2B
There’s a good chance that we see Albies back in the top two tiers next offseason. He’s coming off a season lost to a broken foot and a broken pinky along with some mild-to-moderate under-performance, which adds a little bit of risk to a profile that until now was incredibly safe. If he looks anything like the 30-HR, 20-SB player he did in 2021, Albies will go back to being fantasy’s top young second baseman.
I might even be overstating the risk here, as broken bones don’t usually present long-term risk for players, and his slump was only about a month and a half (which is not terribly unusual for any player, even the stars). Albies’ injury risk is less intense than the next guy on this list, and if you want to ignore his 2022 performance entirely, I wouldn’t try to stop you.
5. Jazz Chisholm Jr. (MIA), 2B
There’s no question that Jazz brings power and speed to the table—his 32 home runs and 35 steals in 184 games since the start of 2021 makes that abundantly clear. The question for Jazz is whether he can bring the strikeout rate down a little more and/or take a few more walks to get on base more consistently so that he can take advantage of that speed more often.
Stolen base opportunities are already a bit of a question mark as Jazz probably won’t lead off for the Marlins in 2023—that job likely belongs to new arrival Luis Arraez due to his excellent contact and on-base skills. Jazz is more likely to move to second or third in the order, which usually means fewer stolen bases. On the other hand, the Marlins’ lineup is incredibly thin, so they will likely still want to keep Jazz on the move if there’s an open base ahead of him. For what it’s worth, projection systems aren’t expecting much of a change.
If you do choose to draft Jazz (and there are a lot of good reasons to do that), be sure to grab a second baseman from Tier 4 or Tier 5 if you can, especially if you’re in a deeper league.
6. Andrés Giménez (CLE), 2B/SS
It was a breakout season for the 24-year-old middle infielder, as Giménez hit 17 home runs, stole 20 bases, and slashed .291/.371/.466 in his first full major league season with the Guardians. Giménez had an improved barrel rate while also hitting more balls up the middle instead of to the pull field and more line drives, all of which had good impacts on his batting average.
Advanced stats, including the expected stats we use here at Pitcher List, suggest that Giménez was a bit fortuitous in the batting average department, but even if he gives up 20-30 points, Giménez remains a highly valuable middle infielder at the top of a lineup that should hopefully be at least average. That said, he could improve his contact ability to make up for some of the loss of luck. I’m also not expecting a ton of growth in the power department, but 15 home runs seem like a safe bet to go with 20-25 steals.
7. Tommy Edman (STL), 2B/SS
Make it two straight seasons with double-digit home runs, 30 steals, and a .260 batting average for Edman. The versatile and speedy infielder should continue to hit at the top of a Cardinals lineup, giving him a pretty good chance to score 90-100 runs. Sure, Edman flashed more plus power in his debut when he hit 11 home runs in just 92 games, but once you realize that power surge was in the infamous 2019 season, you realize that 10-15 home runs are probably all you can get from him.
Those in formats that put a premium on steals (like the NFBC) should probably put Edman above Giménez, but in head-to-head category formats, steals are a bit less important. Giménez provides a higher ceiling for power and ratios than Edman, so I gave Giménez the edge in standard formats.
8. Gleyber Torres (NYY), 2B/SS
After pulverizing the “rabbit ball” and the Orioles in 2019, Torres took some big steps back in 2020 and 2021 before rounding into the player we expected in 2022. Like most projection systems, I’m discrediting both the good (2019) and the bad (2020-2021) and believing that Torres is a 20-25 home run hitter who can steal double-digit bases and hit somewhere between .250 and .260.
Speaking of steals, Torres is exactly the kind of player who may see that moderate bump from the rule changes regarding steals that you keep hearing about. He attempted 20 steals in 2021 and 15 in 2022, and the rule changes should help him improve on his fairly mediocre success rate (68% in the last two seasons). Torres is projected to hit at the top of the Yankee lineup, and while there’s not a huge need to run when Aaron Judge is batting behind you, he could certainly get to 15 or more swipes if he can get 20 green lights.
9. Max Muncy (LAD), 2B/3B
You have probably heard the story about Muncy’s 2022—he chose to play through an elbow injury and it took roughly half the season before he really got his power and his swing back. Muncy’s batted ball profile (tons of pulled grounders and line drives with fly balls up the middle or the other way) really requires power to work out, and without it, he hit just .164 with a .320 OBP and .319 slugging (not a typo—his OBP was higher).
As he got healthier, he was able to punish the ball like the Muncy of old, as demonstrated by this rolling chart:
There’s 35-HR upside in Muncy’s bat, albeit with a .220 batting average, and no reason to believe the injury that plagues him in 2022 will impact him in 2023. OBP league managers should consider putting Muncy at or near the top of this tier, while the rest of us can move him up or down within this tier based on our power needs at that point in our drafts.
10. Jorge Polanco (MIN), 2B/SS
Injuries shortened a somewhat disappointing season for Polanco, who hit just .234 with significantly less power than he showcased in 2021. Those 33 home runs from 2021 may prove to be an outlier, but a healthy Polanco is more than capable of hitting 22-25 home runs with a batting average closer to .270 than .240.
One odd development from 2022 that I’m struggling to factor in was the big spike in walk rate—he ended the season walking in 14.4% of hit plate appearances, which is more than double how often Polanco walked in 2021 (7%), and almost six points higher than any other full-season walk rate (8.5% in 2019). That number was actually fairly consistent all season—Polanco’s walk rate was at least 11.8% in every single month, and in 91 July plate appearances, he actually walked more than he struck out! As the rolling chart below will show you, it’s truly a remarkable change, particularly for a player who has been around as long as Polanco:
The increase in walks, theoretically, would give Polanco a big boost in OBP formats and also help him score more runs, but it’s hard to project how this type of outlier might carry over into the next season.
11. Brandon Lowe (TBR), 2B
Lowe’s power evaporated in 2022, plain and simple. Coming off a 39-home run season for the Rays in 2021, Lowe hit just eight home runs in 2022. He got off to a slow start, then missed nearly two months with a stress fracture in his back. In his first 15 games back from the IL, Lowe looked like himself again, hitting .350/.400/.583 with five doubles and three home runs, but in the 18 games that followed, he recorded exactly zero extra-base hits over 68 plate appearances before heading back to the IL with back issues. While Lowe had hopes to return, his back never responded to treatment and he was shut down for the rest of the season.
Back issues are notorious for how they linger and impact players—the back is difficult to treat and plays a huge role in just about everything we do. Most often, the best way to recover is with time and a good routine, and with Lowe being shut down since September, he’s had plenty of time to help his back get right. He’s a player to watch closely in the Spring—if he looks healthy, he could be a steal in drafts as he’s pushed down for (legitimate) risk concerns, but Lowe will be difficult to trust or draft if we start hearing that his back issues persist.
12. Thairo Estrada (SFG), 2B/SS/OF
Thairo Estrada is one of those who just did a little bit of everything in 2022—a bit of pop, more than a bit of speed, decent ratios, and more than his fair share of runs and RBI. While none of his statistical contributions will wow you on their own, their cumulative value was enough to sneak into the top 10 at second base last season when all was said and done.
Estrada appears to be the front-runner to leadoff for the Giants, and while that offense isn’t exactly fearsome, there’s just enough thump behind him in the order to believe that he can notch 80 runs if he plays most of the season. If you combine that with the rule changes that promote speed and the fact that the Giants will likely find themselves in a position where they need to manufacture runs on the regular, a 15-home run, 20-stolen base season seems more than reasonable. That power and speed, along with 80 runs scored and a .260 batting average, come together to be a back-end starter at second base in 12-team formats, albeit one with a bit of a lower ceiling than others in this tier.
13. Vaughn Grissom (ATL), 2B
Grissom set the world on fire in relief of the injured Ozzie Albies, hitting .291/.353/.440 with five steals and five home runs in a mere 41 games. Anyone would be happy with that start, but as with all things, there’s more to the story than meets the eye.
The primary story for Grissom, besides the fact that he did very well overall in the small sample, is that he wasn’t exactly trending up as the season wore on:
It’s not all doom and gloom, though—41 games is a very small sample size, and this sort of change is not at all uncommon for new hitters (especially ones who had fewer than 100 plate appearances at or above Double-A before their MLB debut). Grissom’s power and speed seem quite real, and with some development, he could be a 20/20 player with a strong batting average.
In fact, the reason Grissom is ranked so high is because of that ceiling. While there is a risk that he might be in and out of the major leagues in a worst-case scenario, Grissom’s incredible ascension to the majors combined with Atlanta’s proven track record in developing young talent at the major league level (it’s represented in almost half of their starting lineup) gives hope for that upside. Additionally, the replacement level late in the draft or on the wire at second base is relatively high compared to other positions (like third base), so taking a risk here has fewer consequences than at other positions.
If you draft Grissom to be your starting second baseman, though, I’d highly recommend pairing him with another player from this tier in the draft, or at the very least, one of the high-floor options in the next tier in the draft or at the top of your watch list.
14. Brandon Drury (LAA), 1B/2B/3B
I was admittedly surprised by how much Pitcher List’s own expected batting average (.248) and expected slugging (.477) supported what Donovan did in 2022 compared to Baseball Savant’s numbers (.242 and .420, respectively). One of the primary differences between our expected stats and Savant’s expected stats is that we take direction into account while Savant does not.
In 2022, the league hit .222 and slugged .646 on fly balls. This makes sense, as fly balls that don’t clear the fences tend to land in a glove and not on the grass, and that means the expected stats for fly balls tend to be a bit sad. However, when it comes to fly balls, direction REALLY matters:
If you’re wondering how Brandon Drury found so much success in 2022 (and to a lesser extent, 2021), it’s from hitting and pulling more fly balls than ever before. His 22 home runs to the pull field ranked seventh in all of baseball, and Drury’s 52 pulled fly balls were the 14th most in baseball. While many will point to his time with the Reds and say Drury took advantage of Great American Ballpark (which he did), he’ll find the left field wall in Angel Stadium quite inviting—it’s only two feet further back than the one in Cincinnati, and the wall is several feet lower. In fact, Angel Stadium ranks seventh in home run factor for right-handed hitters, according to Statcast.
I’m not projecting Drury to hit 28 home runs again, but there’s evidence to suggest that he can hit 22-25 of them with a decent batting average if he can continue to pull fly balls. His positional flexibility only adds to his fantasy relevance, particularly with how shallow third base looks heading into 2023.
14. Jonathan India (CIN), 2B
While the power was always a bit lacking in 2022, in part due to injuries, India did rebound nicely in the second half to slash .261/.351/.400 to give us some hope that he can return to his 2021 form where he hit 21 home runs and stole 12 bases with 98 runs scored and a .269 batting average.
Injuries really did hold back India last season, though it’s difficult to gauge how much of a role those injuries played and how much of it was the inability to make adjustments. There’s no good way to answer that question, but we can at least say that India’s ceiling is a top-10 second baseman that looks not unlike the much more favorably-ranked Gleyber Torres. The floor, however, even if healthy, could be a fringe player in 12-team formats if we don’t see a return to close to 20-home run pop.
16. Luis Arraez (MIA), 1B/2B/3B
Arraez is one of two players at second base (I’ll get to the other one in a moment) who are frontrunners for the NL batting title. In 1,082 plate appearances since the start of 2021, Arraez has a .307 batting average, which is the third-highest batting average among qualified hitters in that span (only Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner have been better).
Now unlike the two players ahead of him on the batting average leaderboard, Arraez is very unlikely to provide meaningful contributions in power or speed. While he did set a career-high in both home runs and stolen bases in 2021, he did so with just eight home runs and four steals. With Arraez being traded to the Marlins earlier this offseason to be their new leadoff hitter, you can expect Arraez to provide three key contributions to your fantasy squad—runs scored, ratios, and position eligibility at first, second, and third.
Points league players can push Arraez up their boards considerably, as his ability to make contact and avoid strikeouts (he had just a 7.1% strikeout rate last season) is far more useful in that format than in ones that use categories. For the category folks, though, Arraez is more of a niche than a must-roster player. If you have picked up a lot of batting average risk in your draft (guys like Max Muncy, Brandon Lowe, Anthony Rizzo, Adolis García, etc.), Arraez can make a lot of sense as that middle infielder or utility guy who helps balance out those ratios. If you’re already set on ratios, though, you’re best off skipping Arraez as well as the next guy on the list.
17. Jeff McNeil (NYM), 2B/OF
McNeil’s breakout campaign in 2019 probably gave us the wrong impression about what to expect from McNeil in the power department—his 23 home runs in 133 games that season is as many as he’s hit in the 433 games he’s played in 2018 and 2020-2022. Instead, McNeil’s profile is incredibly similar to Luis Arraez. McNeil’s .326 batting average, 10.4% strikeout rate, nine home runs, and four stolen bases could just as easily have been Arraez’s stat line last season, though the one key difference between them is lineup placement.
Arraez is slated to lead off in Miami while McNeil looks to be batting fifth. While batting fifth provides more RBI opportunities (especially when you consider the supporting cast in New York compared to Miami), it does reduce the number of runs scored and plate appearances McNeil can rack up. I much prefer players like this to be at the top of the lineup so that they can maximize the fantasy value of their slap-hitting ways, but it’s hard to complain too much about a player who will compete for a batting title.
18. CJ Abrams (WAS), 2B/SS
Once a highly-touted prospect, the shine has faded a bit for Abrams over the last season or two as the power hasn’t quite materialized in the major leagues. From what we’ve seen so far, Abrams has a rather familiar fantasy profile—10-home run pop, 20-stolen base speed, and a very aggressive approach (56.6% swing rate was 14th-highest among players with 300 or more plate appearances) that will likely hamper his batting average and OBP. Abrams doesn’t really strike out much—his 16.6% strikeout rate was well below the league average of 22.4% last season—but his 1.7% walk rate means he’s entirely reliant on getting hits to get on base.
While getting on base is a key skill for all players (it’s kind of the point of being in the batter’s box), it’s especially important for Abrams as his primary attribute right now is his 91st-percentile speed (per Statcast). The 22-year-old middle infielder’s raw speed suggests he could reach 25 or more steals given the opportunity, but Abrams needs to work on his selectivity at the plate, as making contact with pitches well outside of the zone is not a good way to get on base.
On the bright side, Abrams is really skilled at making contact, so if you want to dream about Abrams taking a step forward and being a 15-home run, 30-stolen base player like the old Whit Merrifield, I’ve got a chart that might help:
19. Jake Cronenworth (SDP), 1B/2B/SS
The power took a significant step back for Cronenworth in 2022 as he hit just 17 home runs and slugged a mere .390 across his 684 plate appearances last season. While Cronenworth did manage to put the ball in the air more often (47.7% flyball rate in 2022 compared to 36.1% in 2021), he did the opposite of Brandon Drury and pulled just 19.5% of the balls he hit in the air. If you recall from the chart back in Drury’s section, that’s not such a good thing.
Cronenworth could possibly get back to 20 home runs in 2023 if he can just pull the ball a little bit more, and doing so would likely boost his RBI total as he’s shaping up to bat fifth in the top-heavy Padres lineup. Granted, Cronenworth still managed to drive in 88 runners and score 88 times despite the low power thanks to the overall strength of the lineup in San Diego. There’s upside for a top-12 to top-15 season at the position if he can regain some of the power, though if he doesn’t, Cronenworth should still have a reasonably safe floor thanks to the team he plays for and where he’ll hit in the lineup.
20. Ketel Marte (ARI), 2B
Marte is another player who benefitted in 2019 from the rabbit ball—his 32 home runs are more than he’s hit in any other two seasons combined. While Marte doesn’t need to mash dingers to produce a useful fantasy season, he does need to hit better than the .240 he posted in 2022 (his career average is .279).
Marte did show signs of 20-home run power in both 2021 and 2022, though injuries cut his 2021 short—and after hitting six home runs in July 2022, he only managed two more home runs for the rest of the season (and they didn’t come until September 15th and 20th). At this stage of the draft, there are worse things to gamble on than a switch-hitting second baseman with 20+ home run upside and excellent contact skills batting near the top of a young and exciting lineup, but if the batting average and power don’t modestly rebound, Marte will be looking at another finish outside the top 20 at the keystone.
21. Whit Merrifield (TOR), 2B/OF
I want to be more excited about Merrifield, I really do. For several seasons, Merrifield was the king of consistency—he found ways to provide an excellent batting average with tons of at-bats, hit double-digit home runs, and swipe a boatload of bases at the top of the Royals lineup. Then 2022 happened, and it felt like everything crashed. While Whit did manage to hit 11 home runs, his batting average dropped to .250 (and it would have been worse if not for a hot September where he hit .338) and he notched just 10 stolen bases, with only two of those coming in the second half and only one as a member of the Blue Jays.
While Merrifield’s ratios in Toronto were strong—he slashed .281/.323/.446 in 44 games—and he did hit five home runs (he hit just six in 95 games for Kansas City), now he’s buried at the bottom of the lineup for a Blue Jays team that isn’t nearly as aggressive as the Royals. In fact, since the start of 2021, the Royals have 80 more stolen bases than the Blue Jays (228 to 148). Heck, the Royals have 25 more steals than the Jays have attempts (203) in that span.
Merrifield’s value started with stolen bases, and with a move to a more conservative team and a move from batting first or second to eighth, it’s hard to see Merrifield clearing 20 stolen bases. Of course, a return to form could give him a shot at the top of the order and a chance to vault up into Tier 4 or Tier 5, but the floor is someone you can’t even roster.
22. Brendan Rodgers (COL), 2B
Rodgers got a full season as the Rockies’ second baseman, and it was unfortunately an underwhelming campaign. While the plate discipline was just quite good (17.4% strikeout rate, 7.9% walk rate), Rodgers just couldn’t do enough damage when he made contact. Slugging .408 with 13 home runs just doesn’t get it done when you can’t steal bases or hit above .280, and Rodgers did neither of those in 2022.
It is worth noting, though, that Rodgers did hit .284 in 2021, thanks in large part to better performances against righties (.733 OPS in ’21, .647 OPS in ’22) and on the road (.873 OPS in ’21, .588 OPS in ’22). While performing well on the road as a Rockies hitter is uniquely difficult due to how the atmospheric conditions impact pitch movement, which makes that a tough area to improve on, I see no reason that Rodgers should struggle so mightily against righties. He actually walked more and struck out less against same-sided pitching in 2022 compared to 2021, so there’s still hope Rodgers can make an improvement there that improves his batting average and power by a degree or two.
A successful season for Rodgers probably looks something like 20 home runs and a .280 batting average, though as with most hitters in Colorado, your mileage will vary depending on how often you start him on the road and manage the matchups.
23. Gavin Lux (LAD), 2B/SS/OF
After hitting 28 home runs across Double-A, Triple-A, and the majors in 2019, Lux was on top of the world. He was considered a top-five prospect in many circles thanks to his promising power and impressive hit tool, and there was hope that he could deliver strong performances in the big leagues as early as 2021. Unfortunately, it hasn’t yet worked out that way either in fantasy or reality, as Lux has just 18 home runs and a .253 batting average in 273 games in the majors.
While it’s still a bit too early to write the 25-year-old kid off, it’s probably safe to say that we’ve had to lower our expectations with respect to what Lux can do. On one hand, we should be encouraged by the .276 batting average and .346 OBP he had in 2022, though his numbers certainly waned in the second half. A breakout for Lux probably looks like a 15-20 home run player with plus batting average and OBP, though the counting stats may be a bit lacking unless he can pull himself out of the bottom of the batting order. That’s somewhat interesting; however, the floor is a guy who struggles to hit 10 home runs and to be fantasy-relevant with that kind of limited power you need to either pile in the runs scored at the top of the order or contend for batting titles (or in other words, you have to be Luis Arraez).
24. Jean Segura (MIA), 2B
The slap-hitting Segura now finds himself on a team that is likely going to bat him higher than sixth or seventh in the order, and that gives Segura an even safer floor than he had with the Phillies (which was already relatively safe). As the new primary third baseman for the Marlins, Segura will likely play every day and bat second behind Luis Arraez—an ideal placement for a player who does a good job putting the ball in play.
Segura’s bat itself isn’t terribly exciting—he has hit more than 15 home runs in a season just once, and it was all the way back in 2016—but at least Segura usually manages to get to 10 or more home runs and around 10 steals even at this stage of his career. Assuming Arraez and Chisholm can stay healthy along with Segura, the veteran should be able to accumulate enough runs and RBI to provide solid value in deeper formats. He’s not much more than a replacement-level asset in 10- and 12-team leagues, but Segura does just enough of everything to be a fine middle infielder if you’ve taken a few risks near the top of your draft.
25. Luis Urías (MIL), 2B/3B/SS
The .239 batting average probably doesn’t make you all that eager to add Urías to your queue or watch list, but the 25-year-old infielder has just enough pop and versatility to be interesting at the end of a 12-team roster. He’s unlikely to steal more than a handful of bases (even with the rule changes), but Urías does have 20-25 home run power and should provide 70 or more runs and RBI—especially if a few other Brewers like Jesse Winker and Garrett Mitchell are able to find success.
Folks in daily moves leagues that like to burn and churn the back of their roster (which is an excellent strategy if you have the time to manage it) might also take note that Urías has a career line of .281/.349/.456 against southpaws and could easily find himself batting third or fourth against them.
26. Kolten Wong (SEA), 2B
When it comes to strictly the floor, Wong probably has the highest of this entire tier. Wong is very likely to hit somewhere around .260, and given 120-130 games, he should get to double-digit steals and home runs.
As the primary second baseman for the Brewers over the last two seasons, Wong’s role has been fairly predictable as a leadoff hitter who played just about every day when healthy and who would almost never hit lower than fifth or platoon. Now that Wong is a Mariner, however, things get a little less easy to project. Sites like Roster Resource have Wong pegged as a platoon player who may rotate with the explosive-but-streaky Dylan Moore, and the top of the Seattle batting order is set with Julio Rodríguez, Ty France, Eugenio Suárez, and Teoscar Hernández likely staying in the top five spots just about every day.
Wong’s limited power makes it difficult for him to rack up meaningful counting stat totals without being near the top of the lineup, and generally speaking, stolen base opportunities are more difficult to come by when you’re not near the top or bottom of the order. It’s important to note, though, that these factors impact his floor far more than his ceiling, and deeper league managers, particularly those with a middle infield spot to fill, should put Wong closer to the top of this tier. For 12-team leagues, though, it’s hard to get excited about what Wong brings to the table unless he ends up near the top of the order.
27. Luis García (WAS), 2B/3B/SS
García has been a force in Triple-A the last two seasons, putting up a wRC+ of 154 in 2021 and 129 in 2022, but has yet to turn that into success at the big league level. García’s calling card is his hit tool, and if all goes well, he has the contact ability to bat somewhere between .260 and .280 depending on how much power comes with it.
García doesn’t quite have the in-game power to become a 20-home-run hitter, most likely, but there’s plenty of room in deeper leagues for guys who can hit 15 home runs and provide a solid batting average.OBP league players should probably drop him down a tier, though, as García has yet to show a willingness to walk in the majors.
28. DJ LeMahieu (TOR), 1B/2B/3B
At this point, we can all agree that LeMahieu will not match his career high of 26 home runs in 2023. Based on the evidence we have, it’s safe to say that the power surge was a combination of playing well and the more offense-friendly ball. The more pressing question, and one that is harder to get an answer to, is whether he can go back to being a batting average contributor. LeMahieu’s limited power and lack of speed puts immense pressure on his batting average and counting stats to generate fantasy value, and it just hasn’t been there over the last two seasons.
There isn’t that much upside here, generally speaking, but if LeMahieu can hit .280 or better and climb out of the bottom of the Yankees’ batting order, he could be an interesting source of ratios and runs. If he can’t, LeMahieu isn’t really worth rostering in standard leagues.
29. Christopher Morel (CHC), 2B/OF
Morel has plenty of power and speed intrigue after hitting 16 home runs and stealing 10 bases in 113 games last season, but his 32.2% strikeout rate is a tough pill to swallow. Unfortunately, Morel didn’t really get better at making contact as the season went on, and if he continues to strike out 30% of the time or more, he’ll quickly find himself riding the bench a bit too often to make a difference in 12-team formats.
30. Trevor Story (BOS), 2B
Story is optimistic he will play this season, but it remains to be seen when exactly that will happen. Story showed off excellent power and speed when healthy in 2022, and if he can emerge sometime early in the second half, he is worth stashing in leagues with deep ILs. If you play in a league with a shallow IL (or no IL), he probably needs to be left on the wire until we get closer to a potential return.
For what it’s worth, Story was firmly in Tier 4 prior to the injury.
Also Considered: Isaac Paredes (TBR), Spencer Steer (CIN), Jon Berti (MIA), Josh Rojas (ARI), Wilmer Flores (SFG), Jonathan Schoop (DET), Kiké Hernández (BOS), Bryson Stott (PHI), Nick Gordon (MIN), Luis Rengifo (LAA), Rodolfo Castro (PIT)
Photo by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)